Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers

William J. Sullivan, Plaintiff

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William J. Sullivan, Plaintiff




A corporation, Defendants.
The deposition of Grant C. Smith, taken before Edmund Brady, a Notery Public in and for the District of Columbia, at 163 Fourteenth Street, N. W., in the City of Washington, D. C., on the 25th day of March, 1916, by agreement of counsel, to be read in evidence on behalf of the defendant The Southern Railway Company in that certain action at law, pending in the Circuit Court of Prince William County, Virginia, wherein William J. Sullivan is plaintiff, and the Southern Railway Company and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company are defendants.


On behalf of the plaintiff, Mr. Thomas H. Patterson.

On behalf of the defendant the Southern Railway Company,

Mr. F. S. McCandlish, of Moore, Keith, McCandlish & Hall.

Grant C. Smith being first duly sworn, deposes as follows:

By Mr. McCandlish:

Q. Please state your age, residence and occupation? Answer – My age is forty-three; residence, Washington, D. C. occupation, manager of the Singer Sewing Machine Company at 1630 Fourteenth Street, N. W., Washington, D. C.

Q. how long have you been working for the Singer Sewing Machine Company? Answer – about 15 years

Q. How long have you known William J Sullivan, the plaintiff ? Answer – Since November, 1913

Q. When did your acquaintance with him commence? Answer – At that time (November 1913) when he first came to work for the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

Q. What was his position and employment with the Singer Sewing Machine Company? Answer – Collector and salesman.

Q. When did he leave the employment of the Singer Sewing Machine Company? Answer – July 17, 1915

Q. Why did he leave the employment of the company at that time?

Mr. Patterson: Objected to as immaterial.

Answer – For a better position, he said.

Q. While he was working for the Singer Sewing Machine Company how frequently would you see him and come in contact with him? Answer – Sometimes once a day or twice a day; and at other times I might be out when he came in and so would not see him at all that day.

Q. He worked under your supervision and direction? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What was his general physical condition when he left the company?

Mr. Patterson: Objected to on the ground that it is calling for an expert medical opinion, for

which the witness has not been qualified.

Answer – As I observed him he was in as good condition at that time as he ever was.

Q. I wish you would state whether his retirement from working for the Company was voluntary on his part, or whether he was discharged? Answer – It was voluntary on his part. I did not know it until he came in one day and told me he was going to quit working for the Company, because, he said, he wasn’t making as much money as he ought to be. I said “Mr. Sullivan, are you going to leave us?” He said, “Yes, I can’t work any longer for you because you have cut my routes in half, and I have a better position in the Navy Yard, one that pays me more for shorter hours, and I am going to take that.”

Q. He claims to have been injured on the Southern Railway on February 23, 1915. Can you state, after refreshing your memory from your records, if necessary, how soon after that date he returned to work? Answer – I think it was in ten or twelve days.

Q. So that he returned to work along about the 3rd of March, is that correct? Answer – I can’t say just the exact date, because he missed two reports about that time when he didn’t work. I know he returned to work sometime after the 6th of March because he reported on the 13th of March. His week began on Monday and ended on the following Saturday. He missed the reports of the 27th of February and 6th of March.

Q. After he returned to work on the date you have stated, what was his condition with respect to his ability to perform his work, as compared with what it had been prior to February 24, 1915?

Mr. Patterson: Objected to, on the ground that it is calling for a medical expert opinion as to the

condition of Mr. Sullivan, for which witness has not been qualified. Answer – When he came back he went to work and said that he felt he could do as good work as ever, so far as he knew himself he felt all right, but that the doctors objected to his working because they said he was liable to fall off his wheel or anything like that. I saw no difference myself, but he himself said he felt that way.

Q. You mean that he felt as well as he had felt before? Answer – That is what he stated himself.

Q. Now, as a matter of fact, how did his work after the accident compare with his work before the accident? Answer – Well, he worked for us and was also working for the Adams Express Company at night; he was performing two duties, I don’t know hiw long.

Mr. Patterson: Do you know that he had this additional employment with the Adams Express Company?

Mr. McCandlish: Then, as I understand, after the accident, in addition to performing his duties for the Singer Sewing Machine Company, he was doing night work for the Adams Express Company, according to his statement to you?

Mr. Patterson: Objected to on the ground that the question was leading.

Answer – That is about all I knew about it in that line, as to his condition. I received a letter from

the Adams Express Company-----

Mr. Patterson: I object to any statement as to the contents of the letter, and move to strike out

what he said.

Mr. McCandlish: I am asking you now about what Mr. Sullivan told you with respect to his

working for the Adams Express Company.

Mr. Paterson: Objected to on the ground that the question has already been answered.

Answer – He told me that he couldn’t continue working for the Singer Company after his routes

were divided; that he wasn’t able to make a living on that, and he had to do something else; he said if we didn’t give him work enough in that way he would have to look for another position.

Q. Work in what way? Answer – Doing outside work in addition to working here. We require any man working for us to give his whole time to our business, and if at any time I find a man is doing anything outside of that I investigate it.

Q. Please state whether he was working on a salary or commission? Answer – Commission.

Q. How did his earnings, after he returned to work at the time you have mentioned, compare with his earnings prior to that time? Answer – He had half, he had half the amount of cards to work on that he had had prior to that time; the amount was cut in half.

Q. What was the number of the forms upon which he made his weekly report? Answer – No. 200

Q. State if those forms show his earnings during the weeks covered by his reports? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. When was Mr. Sullivan’s route reduced, as you have stated? Answer – I can’t just say without looking at the records. Mr. Hill, the general agent at the central office, had repeatedly called my attention to the fact that Mr. Sullivan was not making good sakes on the route on which he was collecting, which ought to have produced at least two sales a week, and I was ordered to cut his route one –half, so that he might have time to make sales. Mr. Sullivan objected to that, but he was cut down all the same. To the best of my recollection, I think that was about the time he came back to work, or just prior to that. When he came back I said to him, “Mr. Sullivan, you won’t have such a big route to work because we have got to cut you down one-half”; He said, “All right; if I can’t make a living at that I will have to get something else to do.” He says, “I am able to do the work, but the doctors won’t allow me to do it.” To the best of my recollection, that is about the whole of the conversation, in a nutshell. That was the reason why he was cut down. I thought it would just about fit him to give him half the route, but he objected to being cut down because he felt like he could do the whole route, but the doctors wouldn’t allow him.

Q. Can you consult your records and tell me what Mr. Sullivan’s earnings were in December, 1914; I will ask the same information for January, February, March and April, 1915

Answer: December 6th, 1914 $22.80

December 12th 1914 $12.20

December 19th 1914 $12.60

December 26th 1914 $ 8.80

January 2nd 1915 $ 7.00

January 9th 1915 $14.00

January 16th 1915 $15.20

January 23rd 1915 $10.80

January 30th 1915 $11.40

February 6th 1915 $17.60

February 13th 1915 $14.10

February 20th 1915 $18.45

On the 27th he made no report, and the cash book is the only thing that will show that.

Q. Will the book show that he collected anything in those two weeks? Answer – No, sir, not unless he made reports. March 13 was his first report after that.

Q. He made no report between February 20 and March 13; is that right? Answer – Yes, sir.

March 13, 1915 $ 4.30

March 20, 1915 $25.00

March 27, 1915 $ 8.30

April 3, 1915 $24.10

April 10, 1915 $ 8.00

April 17, 1915 $12.55

April 24, 1915 $12.80

Do you want May?

Q. Yes. Give us for May, June and July, up to the time he left the employment of the Company.

May 8, 1915 $15.10

May 15, 1915 $10.20

May 22, 1915 $ 6.80

May 29, 1915 $15.40

June 5, 1915 $12.40

June 12, 1915 $ 9.60

June 19, 1915 $12.20

June 26, 1915 $ 8.40

July 3, 1915 $17.40

July 10, 1915 $17.00

Q. And July 10 was the last report he made? Answer – Yes, sir, that is the last report.

Q. I will now ask you to go back and give me the same information for the months of October and November, 1914. October 3, 1914 $20.20

October 10, 1914 $25.05

October 17, 1914 $14.60

October 24, 1914 $18.00

October 31, 1914 $14.10

November 7, 1914 $27.60

November 14, 1914 $10.70

November 21, 1914 $17.00

November 29, 1914 $18.40

Q. The figures you have given, showing Mr. Sullivan’s earnings during the months covered by your statement, are taken from your records and are absolutely correct, are they not. Answer – Yes, sir; correct to the cent.

Q. After Mr. Sullivan returned to work in March 1915, did he make any statement or complaint to you or show any evidences of any injury received to his head? Answer – No sir, not to me; as to his head.

Q. About what, if anything, did he complain? Answer – He never complained about feeling bad-not to me, to the best of my knowledge, about anything. On every occasion of his talking about it he would say that he felt all right, but the doctors would say he was not all right; and he would always say “Of course I have got to obey the doctors, they know more about me than I know about myself”

Q. During the time he worked for your company after February 23, 1915, state if you saw him have any fits of any kind. Answer – No, sir.

Q. Or any convulsions of any kind? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Or whether you observed anything abnormal about his condition at all? Answer – I did not.

Q. Or did it come to your knowledge in any way that he was suffering or claimed to be suffering from epilepsy or fits or convulsions? Answer – No, sir, not either one of those three.


By Mr. Patterson:

Q. Mr. Smith, be good enough to turn to your record for the month of September, 1914, and look at Mr. Sullivan’s earnings.

September 5, 1914 $21.50

September 12, 1914 $ 6.40

September 19, 1914 $16.60

September 26, 1914 $25.10

Q. Now for August August 1, 1914 $10.50

August 8, 1914 $25.30

August 15, 1914 $12.90

August 22, 1914 $16.80

August 29, 1914 $12.20

Q. Now for the month of July, 1914. That is the only other month I will ask you about.

July 4, 1914 $20.30

July 11, 1914 $15.50

July 18, 1914 $15.10

July 25, 1914 $14.90

Q. Do your records show the exact date on which Mr. Sullivan’s route was divided in half? Answer – Our records will show the number of cards he carried each month. Since I have been going over these reports I can’t remember whether the route was divided or not. But these reports will show exactly the number of cards that were delivered to him. Form No. 202 carried each man’s name and the amount of cards charged to him at the beginning of the month, and that is what we go by.

Q. Then you are unable to say whether you divide his route or not? Answer – We can tell by these sheets.

Q. Please be good enough to tell? Answer – The first week of April, 1915, he is charged with 180.

Q. If I understand, Mr. Smith, the amount of work which Mr. Sullivan was called upon to do was represented by certain cards delivered to him? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Now, will you state how many cards he had delivered to him for February 1915? Answer – 287

Q They were delivered to him prior to February 23rd? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. How many were delivered to him for the month of March 1915 – Answer – 263, as shown by the record.

Q. How many were delivered to him for the month of April, 1915? Answer – 180

Q. Will you look and tell us how many for the month of May, 1915? Answer – 165.

Q. And how many for the month of June, 1915? Answer – 157. If he only had ten cards during the month and don’t make any sales during the month he is ten sales short of what he was at the beginning of the month.

Q. So from February, 1915, to June 1915, the cards which had been delivered to him as thhe basis of his word were reduced in number from 287 to 157? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. With that statement or that information which you have taken from your records are you able to say approximately when Mr. Sullivan’s route was divided? Answer – In the month of April.

Q. Did Mr. Sullivan, after February 23, 1915, leave his employment with you on more than one occasion? Answer – How do you mean to discontinue himself or just take off time?

Q. Did he sever his connection with the company on more than one occasion? Answer – No, sir; he never did sever his connection with the company at all.

Q. Did he take any time off after the ten days or so immediately following February 23rd? Answer – Not to my knowledge. He reported here daily. Some days he might not have come in because it would have interfered with his duties. As a rule, he would come in every morning.

Q. Mr. Sullivan’s duties were chiefly away from the office? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. How often would you average seeing him each day? Answer – Well, I would say that I would see him generally once every day.

Q. Sometimes would you not see him each day? Answer – Yes, sir. He kept his collection cards or slips at home, and would turn his money in here every morning mostly, though sometimes I would not see him.

Q. He could do his work practically in his own time, could he not? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Working on it all the time, or only a portion of the time, provided he did his work? Answer – No; we required him to give his whole time; if he was working for anybody else we would discontinue him.

Q. So long as he had no other employment, it was immaterial to you whether he took twenty-four hours or eight hours to perform his quota of work? Answer – He was one of the best collectors we had and I didn’t question him about his work, because he always produced.

Q. Did he keep his cards at home prior to February, 1915? Answer – He kept them there all the time.

Q. You saw Mr. Sullivan a few days after this alleged accident, did you not? Answer – I had a telegram from him and he came into the office, but I couldn’t say exactly what time that was; I received a telegram at my home. I was very much interested in him, and I had carried him to the depot that evening in my machine, with his wife.

Q. You saw him within the next two or three days, did you not? Answer – I really couldn’t say what time it was when he came back, but it wasn’t very long.

Q. What did you observe as to his physical condition at that time? Answer – He said then he had been hurt pretty bad; he had his arm in a sling; and as well as I can remember, he said he was going right back, wouldn’t be away for any length of time.

Q. Going back to Virginia? Answer – Yes, sir. And he asked me would I still hold his route. I said “Undoubtedly I will”, He said, “I think I will be all right within a few days; the doctors seem to think I am really worse than I am; but I will be back to week very shortly again.” Of course he wanted me to keep his route.

Q. You saw the damages on his shoulder? Answer – Yes, he opened his clothes and showed me.

Q. His arm was in a sling? Answer – Yes, sir. But it wasn’t in splints when he returned.

Q. On his return after the first reip? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And that was the first time you saw him after his injury? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Are you able to say how long it was between the first and second trips? Answer – Not positively.

Q. Did Mr. Sullivan tell you about any other injuries which he had received than the injuries to his shoulder and arm? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What was the occasion of his showing you his body where he was hurt? Answer – He was talking to me here and others were sitting in the back room; of course we were not looking for him here at the time and were surprised to see him; both doctors were here.

Q. And he opened his clothing and showed you his body? Answer – He opened around here (indicating) showing his chest and stomach.

Q. Did he complain that he had been suffering from the emission of blood?

Mr. McCandlish: Question objected to on the ground that complaints of this character are mere

self-serving declarations and not admissible. Answer – No.

Q. In response to a question asked you by counsel for the defendant, whether or not it ever came to your knowledge that Mr. Sullivan was suffering from fits, convulsions, or epilepsy, you said “No, none of these three”, I believe? Answer – Yes.
Q. To your knowledge, prior to February 23, 1915, during the time he was in your employ, was he ever ill from any cause? Answer – Not to my knowledge. He seemed to be a man that we regarded here as a powerful man. Never to my knowledge was he sick or complaining, and he never lost any time.


By Mr. McCandlish:

Q. Have you any interest in this case one way or the other? Answer – Not the slightest bit in the world.

Further deponent saith not, and hereunto subscribed his name.

(Signed) Grant C. Smith.


District of Columbia, ss:

I, Edmund Brady, a Notary Public in and for said District, do certify that, pursuant to agreement, the said parties to this cause, by their respective attorneys, appeared before me at the time and place mentioned in the foregoing deposition, together with the witness therein named for the defendant The Southern Railway Company; that before testifying said witness was by my duly cautioned and sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in said cause; that, in response to interrogatories and cross interrogatories by the respective attorneys of the parties, said witness gave his testimony, which was by me caused to be taken down in shorthand and afterwards by me caused to be correctly and fully extended and transcribed as appears in the foregoing sixteen pages; that said deposition was carefully read to or by the witness and was then and there, in my presence, subscribed by him; and I further certify that I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the case to which the above deposition relates, and am not the agent or attorney of any person having any interest therein.

Witness my hand and seal at Washington, D.C. this day of March 1916

Edmund Brady

Notary Public, D.C. (SEAL)

J. P. Leachman a witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, one of the defendants, being duly sworn, testified as follows:


By Mr. Keith:

Q. Mr. Leachman, where do you live? Answer – I live near Bristow in this county, Prince William.

Q. How long have you lived in Prince William County? Answer – All my life.

Q. Have you held any positions in the county? Answer – Yes, sir, I have held several positions. I have been sheriff of the county, and tax collector, and I am tax collector now.

Q. You are tax collector now? Answer – Yes, sir, County Treasurer.

Q. Have you any connection with one of the banks here? Answer – Yes, sir, I was assistant Cashier in the National Bank of Manassas about seven years.

Q. You stated you are tax collector now; don’t you mean you are treasurer now? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Were you on train No. 17 that suffered an accident on the 23rd of February, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Train No. 17 of the Southern Railway? Answer – Ues, sir.

Q. Where were you sitting? Answer – I was sitting on the right hand side of the rear coach on the right hand side going south.

Q. Were you in the same coach as Mr. Sullivan? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you see him? Answer – Yes, sir. I didn’t see him about the time of accident, but I saw him and his wife and baby on the car between there and Manassas; I got on here to go home.

Q. Did you see him thrown from his seat? Answer – No, sir, I did not. I wasn’t looking in that direction at the time of the accident.

Q. Did you have your back to Mr. Sullivan at the time? Answer – I was sitting sideways on the seat looking out of the window this way (indicating), looking out into my field. The track runs along my field there, and I was looking out of the window at the time of the accident.

Q. What did you do after the accident? Did you walk through the car you were sitting in? Answer – Yes, sir, I was in and out of there several times. I was back and forth through the car several times. What I did immediately after the accident, I got to my feet as soon as I could, and there were two ladies on the car who were very much excited, and they were trying to get out of the rear of the car, and I thought probably the vestibule was fastened by the gates. Captain Payne went through. To keep them from climbing out, and I went with them to try to pacify them.

Q. You mean the gate out on the platform? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. That was simply fastened in the usual way? Answer – Yes, sir, and they couldn’t get out without climbing over.

Q. There was not any wreckage there to prevent them getting out?

Mr. Mackey: Objected to as leading.

Mr. Keith: You say the gate was fastened; was there anything besides the gate to keep them from

getting out. Answer – No sir, not there; at the other end of the car there was the wreckage on each side of the car. There was a lot of lumber down there that the engine had run into.

Q. Was there any wreckage on the inside of the car that you and Mr. Sullivan were on? Answer – Oh, no, sir. You see Mr. Sullivan was at the front end of the car, and this was at the rear end of the car the ladies tried to get out. Q. Was there any wreckage on the inside of the car you and Mr. Sullivan were on? Answer – Nothing but broken glass I saw. Q. State whether or not you saw any pig iron, pieces of or anything of that sort? Answer – No, sir, I didn’t see anything of the sort. I don’t think the inside of the car was broken at all. I don’t think so. I have no recollection of seeing any break about the inside of the car at all, or anything except glass being inside of the car. Q. Can you say whether or not the door facing Mr. Sullivan – he was sitting right near the door, I believe – whether any part of that door was broken loose, or the door frame? Answer – I don’t think so. I went out of that door several times, and down the steps several times. Q. Was there any part of the door broken? Answer – I don’t think so. The only thing I saw broken loose was the outside end which enclosed the toilet; where the freight car side-swiped the car, it broke the outside of the car. I know the steps were intact and there was no trouble in getting up and down the steps. A little vestibule, a little place cut off on the outside of the aisle, there is a little partition and a place there and a seat there.

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